Trees of Honor Memorial project on display at Bradley International Airport
By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Wed., Apr. 10, 2013
Two and a half years ago, three women sat down at a kitchen table together and had a heartfelt discussion about how to best honor the Connecticut soldiers who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past several years. Out of that discussion, the Trees of Honor Memorial project has been quietly making progress, and today you can see where it stands by visiting the Bradley International Airport departures lobby.
The cases on display now at Bradley contain information, photos and mementoes of the fallen soldiers, and publicize the building of the Trees of Honor Memorial in Middletown, Conn.
Diane Deluzio, who is on the project’s committee, has a special connection to this project. Her son, Sgt. Steven J. DeLuzio, is on the list of soldiers lost in battle.
“Steven was killed in 2010,” said Diane. Her son was 25 at the time and assigned to 172nd Infantry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, based in Jericho, Vt.
After Steven’s passing, Diane told his story at a rally in Hartford and the women from the Trees of Honor committee reached out to her to ask if she would like to help make this dream a reality. She, of course, said yes, and has been working on it ever since.
“I want to see that it comes to fruition,” Diane said.
Many items which belonged to her son are presently being shown at Bradley. His dress uniform and fatigues are proudly displayed to draw people’s attention to what she said is really important about the project itself: giving honor and respect to the families who paid the ultimate price.
Devotedly setting up his belongings in the cases was not without emotion for Diane. “When we were setting it up, I was able to remove myself from it,” she admitted. But she added that it is important that people know why the Trees of Honor Memorial is so important. “We want to put the emotion in it,” she said. “We want people to realize that freedom isn’t free.”
The memorial itself will be a beautiful living display of 64 trees and will be housed at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Middletown. The memorial will include a landscaped space and a personalized plaque next to each tree.
“There will also be a monument for all who have served,” added Nancy Rouselle, a founding committee member. “We want it to be a serene place,” she said, “to help people remember what their freedom cost. We’re hoping our memorial will do just that.”
Presently, the committee has plans to plant 64 trees - the number of soldiers from Connecticut who have died overseas. “We have space to add more,” said Rouselle. “Hopefully, we will not need them. We hope that’s the end of the numbers.”
Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial, Inc. is seeking sponsors. If you are interesting in donating or would like more information about the project, go to www.cttreesofhonor.com.